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Unread August 22nd, 2006, 04:39 PM
Margaret McGhee Margaret McGhee is offline
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 271
Default Re: Battle Against Scientific Illiteracy

Just to let Fred and Carey know that at least one other person is watching their (rather slow) discussion I thought I'd mention that one reason why Fred finds physical theories like gravitation so compelling and "superior" to "circular notions" like natural selection as a mechanism for evolution - may have little to do with the logical validity or elegance of the theories themselves.

That meta-study I have referenced a few times before Political Conservatism as Motivated Social Cognition shows that a need for closure is one of the most highly correlated characteristics of conservative minds. Other interesting factors that also correlate positively with a conservative orientation are uncertainty avoidance and an intolerance of ambiguity. Conservative minds also show a strong negative correlation with the integrative complexity of the ideas they hold.

So, while you both are having trouble understanding how the other can not see the simple truth in your positions - perhaps the reasons for that are not to be found so much in their respective objective validity - as in the minds that are seeing them.

I'll add a little plug here for my hypothesis - this illustrates for me additional evidence for the emotional basis of one's beliefs. An interesting question to me is: If a conservative mind finds integratively complex ideas uncomfortable compared with less complex ideas - does a liberal mind find more integratively complex ideas more appealing than simpler ones?

My first guess is no. I have not heard of any liberal-minded scientists (perhaps those who accept evolution and natural selection as elegant and highly useful descriptions of the living world) dismissing or criticizing the theory of gravitation because it is not integratively complex.


Last edited by Margaret McGhee; August 22nd, 2006 at 05:26 PM.
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